While some couples may see some sort of counselor or spiritual advisor before getting married, other married couples wait until they begin having difficulties to seek professional help. It's normal to have fights, arguments, and difficulties in your marriage, but to make sure the small stuff doesn't snowball into something much larger, it's important to take care of your relationship and keep a few key things in mind.
We spoke to marriage counselor Terry Eagan to get his best advice for newlyweds to keep their marriage strong, healthy, and successful.
Meet the Expert
Terry Eagan, M.D., is a marriage counselor and medical director of Moonview Sanctuary in Santa Monica, California.
Communicate With Each Other
“Talk, talk, talk,” says Eagan. Communication about everything from small things such as how you spent your day to big things such as how to spend your money is vital to a healthy marriage. It helps you get to know each other better, resolve issues, and stay connected to your spouse.
Break Your Routine
Don’t get caught up in routines. That means you should avoid taking each other for granted by having date nights and taking romantic vacations when you can. Avoid just going to and from work and never focusing on each other or your relationship. When you are just going through the motions, you will feel less satisfied and less content—and that will rub off on your spouse, too. Marriage, after all, is a balance between two people.
Avoid collecting debt. Money troubles put unnecessary stress on a marriage; in fact, it’s one of the major causes of arguments among married couples. Never spend more than you have and try to keep an eye toward the future by always having something in savings.
Look Good for Each Other
Keep up with hygiene and get dressed up every once in a while. “Don’t get sloppy in your relationship,” says Eagen. “Keep it special.” When you start paying less attention to your appearance, you send the message to your spouse that you just don’t care and you’re not really interested in maintaining the attraction between the two of you. You should be sending the signal that you’re still attracted to your spouse—and you want to keep it that way.
Be Ready for the After-Wedding Blues
Realize you may experience post-nuptial depression, which refers to the sad mood that newlyweds experience within the first three to six months of marriage. There can be a letdown after all the excitement of the wedding festivities and honeymoon are over. Although brides are more apt to talk about it than grooms, both pairs probably feel this to some extent.
Eagan suggests refraining from talking about the wedding all the time and going out and doing things together. Understand that it takes time to re-orient yourself and keep in mind that this is just the start of your new life together.
Maintain Your Individuality
Hang onto your friends and family. Just because you’re married doesn't mean you should abandon everyone and everything that existed in your life before the wedding. You still need social outlets to re-energize yourself for your spouse. “Don’t expect your partner to be your everything,” warns Eagan.
Have Good Sex
Sex is a vital part of the marriage relationship, so you should make sure your sex life is satisfying for both of you. If there are physical problems affecting your performance, you should see a doctor and discuss the situation with them as well as your spouse.